Friday, February 4, 2011

How To Avoid Making Art

A new and very creative friend loaned me a book just the other evening….It was entitled “How to Avoid Making Art (or Anything Else You Enjoy)” by Julia Cameron the well known author of “Artist’s Way” and many other books.  This book is a hilarious collection of cartoons depicting all the things we can do to jeopardize our creativity.

  I think she gave it to me for a laugh.  I laughed.  A LOT.   I saw myself in so many of the cartoons.
            “Compare yourself to the Masterworks of the Great Masters.” 

                       “Every time your Joie de Vivre Crows Throttle It” 

                                    “Take Seriously Every Negative thing Anyone Says” 

                          “Scrub your bathroom tiles with a Toothbrush Instead”

 …yes, I admit, I’ve done that…but it was a long time ago!   

I soon stopped laughing so much as I realized that I related to almost ALL of the cartoons…with the exception of “Smoke a lot of Dope for Inspiration.  Forget why it’s Called Dope.  Forget your Inspirations” Trust me, I’m apparently messed up enough already without needing any assistance in the form of illegal substances!

I have lived:

 “Devote every Minute to a Menial Job so you have no time or Energy for your Art”

                 “Choose someone who feels their Dreams and Goals are far more important than yours.”

         “Ask a lot of people their Opinion of Your Plan”

                          "Commit Yourslef to an Unspecified Number of Hours on a Community Project" 

and...                                                    “Under no Circumstances Make Any Art just for Fun”

I didn’t cry, but close…so maybe there’s a bigger reason she gave me the book after all???

I’ve literally been avoiding becoming who I think I’m supposed to be!   Is it fear of failure? Fear of not gaining acceptance? Recognition? Success?  I have literally been setting up insurmountable hurdles my entire life to prevent me getting to where I need to be!  
So in an effort to counteract my self deflating behaviour I took a stand and spent the entire day just creating, no direction, no end goal, just painting to see what might happen.                                                                            Make Art for Fun. 
                                       Weird, actually.

I have mixed feelings on the success of the endeavour, I attempted to create a painting using a style I viewed and admired in a magazine and although very eye catching; I’m not entirely sure it is representative of my authentic self.   I continued on another painting I’d been playing with for awhile and also started yet a third.  So…what’s my analysis?   I cannot say I feel that I wasted my day, I discovered a little more about me, my likes, dislikes and I started at least one canvas I will be able to market.  I don’t feel like I’ve crossed anything off that invisible list, but I did spend the time doing what I should and that makes today good.  

  So…New Friend, regardless of the intent…I Thank You!    Jen

... experiment in a new style

...a new canvas, just begun


Feminist Farmers Wife aka Julie said...

Now, I don't know why, but I got some good and real tears going as I read this. Perhaps because the funny of that book is a passage through to the real stuff. Funny and pain live so close..many comedians attest to this.

It does shed light on those excuses we tell ourselves that seem like SUCH GOOD REASONS at the time.

You are so right - we are meant to be a thing and God won't stop poking us until we get it right.

I want to buy that first painting.

Melissa said...

One book that I loved was Thomas Kincade's book about making art. He takes an often religious perspective, and it was a great read. I'll have to dig it out for you.

Unknown said...

Your art is so beautiful Jen. I just love it! I love that you were able to laugh about the past.

Living a life creating art is the best thing : )